United States envoy for N.Korea to retire after Trump rejects unconditional talks

Eugene Hoshiko

Eugene Hoshiko

"The time, I thought, was right", he told CBS News. He pointed out that it was North Korea that abruptly canceled an opportunity for talks with Vice President Mike Pence at the PyeongChang Olympics.

The possibility of talks between the two countries surfaced after senior North Korean official Kim Yong-chol said during a meeting with South Korean officials that Pyongyang was willing to hold talks with Washington D.C.

"I think this is a huge loss for the US government at a critical moment", Abraham Denmark, the director of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, told CNN.

U.S. President Donald Trump said in response that talks are possible only under the right conditions. Incumbent President Moon Jae-in has criticized the bilateral agreement, claiming that it is seriously flawed and not a real solution to the problem. He asked the U.S.to "lower the threshold" for holding talks.

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Following North Korea's talks offer, the USA responded by saying that the conditions should be right to kick-start the talks process.

Some East Asia analysts have called Mr Yun's departure a big blow to attempts to use diplomacy to resolve the crisis over North Korea's development of nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States, which has raised fears of war.

Trump, who has threatened military force against North Korea in sometimes colorful tones, is determined to stop Kim's government from perfecting a nuclear-tipped missile that can strike the USA mainland.

This comes amid word that key State Department North Korea advisor Joseph Yun is departing at the end of the week.

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The comments came days after Trump unveiled what he described as the "heaviest sanctions ever" levied on North Korea. That suggests he was forced out under direct pressure from the White House.

"He was skeptical and wary of the White House's hardline approach toward North Korea from the beginning", a senior South Korean official told Reuters, requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

South Korea this week urged Washington and Pyongyang to give ground to allow for talks.

In an advisory, the Treasury Department, the US State Department and the US Coast Guard also warned the public of significant sanctions they could face if they help to enable any shipments of goods to and from North Korea.

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